Roger Hill: Marches With Penguins

Dream Jobs 2008

5 min read

On a dark winter day in 1981, Roger Hill sat in a windowless cubby in the dungeons of Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, designing a computer model of blood flow and pressure inside the lung. He was a Harvard postdoc, with a Ph.D. in engineering from Oxford, researching pulmonary artery function. But what he really wanted to do was build gadgets.

Harvard professor and anesthesiologist Warren Zapol stopped by. Zapol was studying patients who survive oxygen deprivation and was also trying to understand sudden infant death syndrome, in which a baby stops breathing for no apparent reason. He thought that both situations might be related to the way marine mammals’ bodily functions change when they dive. He asked Hill if he could build a gizmo that could be attached to the back of a seal and record depth and heart rate and take blood samples while the seal dived into the water.

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An IBM Quantum Computer Will Soon Pass the 1,000-Qubit Mark

The Condor processor is just one quantum-computing advance slated for 2023

4 min read
This photo shows a woman working on a piece of apparatus that is suspended from the ceiling of the laboratory.

A researcher at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center examines some of the quantum hardware being constructed there.

Connie Zhou/IBM

IBM’s Condor, the world’s first universal quantum computer with more than 1,000 qubits, is set to debut in 2023. The year is also expected to see IBM launch Heron, the first of a new flock of modular quantum processors that the company says may help it produce quantum computers with more than 4,000 qubits by 2025.

This article is part of our special report Top Tech 2023.

While quantum computers can, in theory, quickly find answers to problems that classical computers would take eons to solve, today’s quantum hardware is still short on qubits, limiting its usefulness. Entanglement and other quantum states necessary for quantum computation are infamously fragile, being susceptible to heat and other disturbances, which makes scaling up the number of qubits a huge technical challenge.

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